Monday, October 31, 2011

The Problem of Sex

Fascinating article about sex here recently.  From premier scholars on Evolution.  How "Sex is The Queen of Problems in Evolutionary Biology":

How "sex is not only unnecessary, but it ought to be a recipe for evolutionary disaster"... since gender interdependence drastically reduces Darwinian probability.  
That gender independence ("asexual reproduction") would be 'vastly more efficient, vastly more diversifying, vastly more re-productive and vastly more probable'. 

Unless "reproduction" is not the primary purpose, of course.

Which begs the question, "What is the purpose of sex then"?  And "Is there meaning to sex"?

Sex has meaning.  And recently Mary Kassian at CBMW suggested this meaning:

Gender has a profound, cosmic meaning. God created manhood, womanhood, marriage and sex to put the love story of Christ and the Church on display.

A traditional suggestion.  A biblical suggestion.  A suggestion that our sexual relationships are a metaphor of our sacrificial relationship with God.
A metaphor of us giving our "bodies" (Rom. 12:1) to God and "one another"(v.10) as living and holy sacrifices"  A "spiritual service of worship" ... that is to be exercised with "zeal" (v.11).
As Jesus gave His body with zeal for his spouse... the Church.

Yet... this sacrifice was only secondarily for the Church.  This sacrifice was primarily for the Father.  A zealous gift to the Father through the Holy Spirit. So a far greater "love story" than we can imagine is actually being "displayed". A trinitarian "love story".

Three persons with a tremendous love for each other.  Three persons with an intimate love for each other.  Three persons with an indwelt love.  Three tri-united persons. Yet still... three distinct persons.

An ontology of distinction that is quite apparent from Scripture.  And quite apparent from Nature as well (as are body, mind and spirit).  A godhead that is traditionally recognized as three persons with "distinctions... not divisions".

An ontology that man is called to emulate in marriage.  To have distinctions but not divisions.  Not only to be at peace with those distinctions... but to glory in them. 

To lovingly display those distinctions.  That a woman shall not wear man's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing (Deut. 22:5).  But that those those distinctions should be apparent.  As the distinctions in the godhead are apparent and not veiled.

That the godhead is not asexual.  Is not amorphous.  And not self-generating.

That humanity is not asexual.  Is not amorphous.  And not self-generating... but "created in His image" (Gen. 1:26).  

So the biblical "problem of sex" then?  Not a problem.

And the purpose of sex then? 
Again, not to put a whole bunch of images on display (reproduce like crazy)...  but to put a holy image on display.  A faithful reproduction on display.  A united image on display. 

Again, not so much to put the "love story" of Christ and the Church on display but...
to put God's united image on display.  Whether we like it or not!

Is there a greater form of flattery?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

"Walking Dead" Marriage

No, we're not talking about necrophilia here.  But close to it.

We're talking about the recent Pat Robertson stink.  About a man remaining married to a "walking dead" wife.  About suffering a demented wife.  And what constitutes a dead marriage.

Now, it seems that old Pat (83) has been considering the dilemma of Alzheimer's for a while.  And is willing to grant that Alzheimer's is a "death of sorts".  But not sure if it's a valid cause for divorce.  Seems to think that this "ethical question"- to quote a current President- is 'above his pay grade'.

Well, Pat should know better than that.  Far better than that.  Should know that ethical decisions are hardly 'above our pay grade'.   That he actually has a firm foundation for making such decisions.  And they are not "beyond his comprehension"!

That this foundation is found in Christ.  Who was faithful to the cross.  And found in the Holy Spirit- who abides with the Fathers chosen to their end (Psalm 51:11, 1John 3, 4).  As demented as we might become.

That the suffering spouse is to remain faithful.  By the faithful example left to us by Christ.  Left by the Holy Spirit. And left by the LORD to His chosen people.

And if the suffering spouse fails to remain faithful... he is still not to deprive his "walking dead" wife.  As numerous proof-texts indicate, he is still not permitted to deprive her of food, clothing or sex (and they often want that too).  Even if he chooses "another woman" (Exodus 21:10).

Yet scripture says that the deprived wife would then be permitted to leave the unfaithful spouse ("without payment of money").  But "walking dead" women don't usually walk too far.  And rarely as far as the courthouse.

So the man would then be responsible for double duty.  Responsible to service two women. Responsible to "please" two women.  And as general history shows, it is far easier for a man to please himself... than trying to please two women (a good argument for masturbation if there wasn't one :).

So... not nearly as complicated as it may seem to Pat.  It's only complicated when you are willing to grant that Alzheimer's is a "death of sorts".  But dead people are far easier to please.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Refusing To Seed

Yes, I've touched on this issue here and here- but some defence of Calvin now seems to be in order.
Some comments that I couldn't attach to a recent Triablogue post-
A post that was very quickly swamped with comments- and very quickly closed.
 Urbani said: 
   "It is a horrible thing to pour out seed besides the intercourse of man and woman. Deliberately avoiding the intercourse, so that the seed drops on the ground, is double horrible. For this means that one quenches the hope of his family and kills the son, which could be expected, before he is born. This wickedness is now as severely as is possible condemned by the Spirit, through Moses, that Onan, as it were, through a violent and untimely birth, tore away the seed of his brother out the womb, and as cruel as shamefully has thrown on the earth. Moreover he thus has, as much as was in his power, tried to destroy a part of the human race. When a woman in some way drives away the seed out the womb, through aids, then this is rightly seen as an unforgivable crime. Onan was guilty of a similar crime" - John Calvin
Well... here we have Urbani failing to take Calvin figuratively (Onan's seed was not exactly his "brothers seed").
And Urbani failing to provide the entire context.  The operative context would be apparent in the concluding sentence of the above.  Yet, Urbani only provided part (at least he didn't add a period).  The remainder of which... would have critically disabled Urbani's  argument.
As would have Calvin's comments on the preceding verse.  As you may see for yourself.
But let's continue with Calvin- since Urbani (and Warren in a subsequent thread) seems so insistent that Calvin's commentary be deferred to-
Now, isn't Calvin actually saying in the above quote that, "deliberately avoiding intercourse" was actually quite "horrible" as well?  Perhaps not quite as horrible.  And not quite as "criminal".  Certainly not the "heightened criminality"  which he condemns here.  And certainly not quite as contemptible as Rome's actual promotion of avoidance- which he condemns here.  Yet surely Calvin remains to be saying- that avoidance remains a 'criminal offence'.  And a pretty "horrible" one at that.  
As does Exodus 21:10.  And 1 Timothy 5:8.
And is this not what Urbani's/Rome's- Natural Family Planning is actually committing?  A 'criminal offence' by endorsing an actual avoidance of intercourse?
An endorsement of avoiding intercourse at a time when it should least be avoided?  At a time when avoidance is more likely to frustrate a woman's heightened  sense of passion?  
 Yet, Urbani suggests that we are not being "consistent Calvinists"- when some actually employ a 'latex-means' to achieve a desired end. 
And he repeatedly asks,  "Can a child be born unless God wills it"?  
As if Calvinists think that God cannot possibly... punch His way through a wet penis bag. 
And Calvinists respond, 'A child will certainly not be born- if God provides the means to that end'.  
And they respond to Rome's dullards- that avoidance 'is also a means'.  
And emphasize that Rome's 'is a horrible means'.
Not a 'loving means'- by any means.  And that 'their desired end doesn't justify their means'.
Now what does this all mean, you ask?

It means... to govern your wife [and life] with love.  
And not to govern her with the overbearing yoke of Rome.  
"How reluctantly does a woman submit to the yoke!" exclaims Calvin. 
And how reluctantly ought men to compel them to.

So... in love do not refuse your wife.
Do not refuse to seed her.
And may she not "drive away" your seed-
even if it's yoked by latex.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Cult of the Orgasm

Indeed, a bold title from Christianity Today.  And  certainly bold content from Anna Broadway .  A seeming reaction against Russell Moore's article- which disparaged romance novels,

Now, you can probably tell where Anna is going from the pejorative title itself.  The sensationalist 'poisoning of the well', so to speak.  And her article diffuses this poison.
Yet, Anna is to be commended for playing boldly where few women have played before.  Certainly not a prude as suggested in the comments (which are far better than the article itself).  She certainly tries to be biblical.
And has some sense of being contextual.  But got waylaid by fear and 'tremble-ers'.

So, let's look at Anna's presentation:

The case of Onan is poorly presented.   I have covered it here.
The case of Matthew 5 is poorly presented.  I have covered it here.
Have addressed the "specific silence of the Bible on this".  And the general 'lack of silence' here.
Have addressed the Trinitarian implications of this "cult".  With an opposite conclusion here and here.
And have done more than just 'a word study' here.  Not just "a carefully argued interpretation of one passage or verse".

Now Anna also mentions  the 'implausibility of masturbation without fantasy'.  An implausibility that I and others happen to dispute.

Implicit in this assertion of course- is the suggestion that  'fantasy is always wrong'.
Which again begs the question of my extensive study on this subject- "Is fantasy always illicit?".

A question that the Bible is certainly not silent on. 

Yet, it seems middle-age Anna would rather be safe than sorry.
Would rather feel misguided bitterness- than feel misguided guilt.

Would rather lean towards asceticism. 
Lean towards an endorsement of those who say, "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch [yourself] (Col 2:21 ESV).
Rather than towards an endorsement of "things that are excellent, praiseworthy and encouraging".
By avoiding an expression that is in fact excellent, praiseworthy and encouraging.

Indeed, avoiding an expression because illicit fantasies are "probably" involved.
Although, illicit fantasies are not necessarily involved.

Yes, Anna would rather avoid an expression that actually discourages temptation (1 Cor. 7:5).
And often encourages faithfulness.

Certainly not an ungodly expression- to be swept under the rug.
 And as Anna puns, "There's the rub".

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Was Joseph Permitted to Kiss Mary?

(HT. Triablogue)
Catholic Answers had a thread on their Forum- Was Joseph Permitted to Kiss Mary ?

And of course, Rome's foremost defender on this thread- not willing to "sully the purity of the Virgin Mother" says,  "No!".
Unless of course it was a "chaste kiss".  A kiss 'like Mary would have for her infant son'.
How cute.

But of course we know the real question was, 'Did Joseph ever have intercourse with Mary?'.  The real purity issue.

Now this defender is somewhat more firm here, "NO!" (Rome made it official in 1854).
And this defender maintains Joseph's celibacy with Mary..  
And knowing where this is leading- insists that 'not having intercourse with your spouse would not at all be unusual or improper in their culture'.
Really?  Beware when they play the specious 'culture-card'.  Culture hasn't changed all that much.

And this is where this forum moderator (AmbroseSJ) tries to appeal to some specious tradition.  A tradition without an apostolic source (unless early church-father Ambrose of Milan is an some kind of apostle).
According to historian-Phillip Schaff, it is thought that Ambrose of Milan was the first to promote this form of asceticism.
The notorious Pelagius was soon prominent  in popularizing this ascetisism in the 4th century.  It seems Pelagius appealed to Ambrose's slavishly allegorical interpretation of Ezekiel 44:1-3. 

And it was this same Ambrose that was one of the first to suggest that intercourse was "impure".  According to Schaff, he was likely the church father who established the first  monastery in Italy (see Schaff here).  And Ambrose was a church father of whom many mothers forbade their daughters to hear 'lest their daughters go the barren way of Ambrose's sister, the nun.'.

But let's get back to Joseph. 
Now it is suggested by Rome that the text in question (Matthew 1:18-25) was "requiring" Joseph to keep his impure hands (and lips) off of Mary in perpetuity.  A view that 4th century Jerome (with his very low view of marriage) would have no problem with.  And a requirement that Joseph himself would allegedly have 'no problem with'.

But is this what the text says?
Well, let's look at that seemingly obscure Ezekiel text first.  The text that Ambrose appeals to.

Constables notes are very helpful  here. 
Indicating that this "gate" was certainly not an allegorical gate (womb) as Ambrose supposes.  And that this very human "Prince" was certainly not Jesus as Ambrose supposes.
Pretty dull of Ambrose on that one too.

Now what of Rome on the Matthew text?
Well, Rome likes to pander to both Ambrose and Jerome [and yes, even to the heretic Pelagius].
Pander to them by reading stuff into the text that just isn't there.
By insisting that Joseph maintained Mary's virginity.  And by insisting just as Jerome insisted, that "until" doesn't necessarily mean "only until" (v.25).
But then even the word "until" is unnecessary, isn't it?  Unnecessary and diversionary.  A definite waste of ink and inkling.

Yet isn't the context of this text about the purity of Jesus- rather than the purity of Mary or Joseph?
The fulfillment of the virgin prophecy 'spoken by the Lord'- rather than Joseph's maintenance of Mary's virginity?
Isn't this about the divinity of Jesus- rather than 'the divine calling' of Joseph?
And about Joseph's calling the Divine One "Jesus"?

And what of the angelic preamble?  Was Joseph truly "afraid" of taking Mary as a wife?  Or merely "reconsidering" (v.20)?
Or did the angel actually tell Joseph to, "Be truly afraid of taking Mary as a wife in the fullest sense"?
Or to, "Be truly afraid of a 'usual and proper' marriage"?

In other words, was the angel actually telling Joseph to be a mere 'surrogate husband'?  A mere 'surrogate daddy'?

No.  That is too much reading into the text.  With no supplementary evidence to support it.

And with no evidence to the contrary- I believe that Joseph remained "a righteous man" (v.19).
And became a husband and father in the fullest sense of the tradition.

Indeed, so much more than a surrogate husband.
And so much more than an aspartame daddy.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Marital Rape... again

Was going to add these two  little updates to previous posts of mine.   To posts here and here.  Two little updates- which seem to have come up in top Canadian stories this week.  But then I thought, more content might be added as well so...

Here are some new court cases which have developed into court convictions this week.  Cases that have compelled rulings that pander to our cultures increasing sense of entitlement and "autonomy".   Cases that have forced our politically-correct courts, to grant our increasingly impatient culture- exactly what they want.  For the short term. 

In the one  story  we have the top  Canadian court ruling that "you cannot kiss, caress or fondle your partner while they are sleeping".  For such would make you a Sex Offender.  So beware if their eyes are closed.

And  in the other story we have a young husband convicted of raping his wife ten times.  While she "silently and unresistingly" just "lied still".  As many wives are inclined to do.  Though rarely still.  And rarely silently. 

Now it seems that in both cases there must be "active and ongoing consent".    That in both cases silence was not consent.  Nor was prior silence.
Past passivity was not consent.  And neither was blatant prior consent.

And as shown in my previous posts- these allegations may indeed come many months after the fact.  When such specious allegations are found to be profitable ("custody battles" etc).  And hostility is aroused.

Now how might these allegations be alleviated in the future?
Well... even the dullest Christians should recognize that this is not a Biblical option. 
People that recognize that "autonomy" is a cruel taskmaster.
People that recognize that for as long as they remain married, "their body is actually under the authority of their spouse" (1 Cor. 7:4).
That this is in their best interest...  'till death do them part'.

 And even the dullest pagans should recognize- that such allegations are not in their best interest either.
That statistics show- that actually working with their 'significant others' has significantly better outcomes.
That such allegations reflect badly on the accuser as well.  And does not bode well for future relationships (do they actually "deprive" their 'significant other'?).
But such is merely pie-in-the-sky thinking for pagans.   People who treasure immediate results.
People who truly treasure "autonomy".

So the operative question is... how should our Canadian courts react in future?
Well... from a "no-fault" perspective, of course.  Just like our supposed Canadian divorce perspective.
Where such specious allegations of fault are generally considered irrelevant and malevolent.
Allegations which cannot be used as a weapon.  And should have no effect on the Divorce Settlement.

Hmmm...reminds me of how the  wicked Witch Hunts finally died.  They "died only as soon as  profit-taking was no longer permitted" [see Lea].  As soon as there was no longer a reward in the Hunt.  And there was a penalty for false allegations.

Likewise, may our courts and culture learn from our wicked history-
and see fit to 'call off''  this espoused Hunt.
A Hunt that truly is... a 'fools game'.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rez Erection?

Came across this from prominent-theologian Michael Bird.  A man I really respect.  Though we don't always agree.  A man who really wrestles with the Word (and really wrestles with heretics as well) .  Not unlike Jacob wrestling with the pre-incarnate Christ.
Yet, I had to look at this twice.  Couldn't believe what I read.  Then thought, and recognized it as classic Bird.  And the comments confirmed- it was not a typo.  A side of "Jesus of Nazareth" rarely considered.  Or rarely commented on at any rate.  And it seems Nazaroo took exception.
Yet, Nazaroo took more than exception.  More like offense.  Don't think Bird was trying to be offensive.  But if he was- it was surely edifying.  Not unlike Paul saying, "have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?" (Galatians 4:16).
And a worthwhile truth indeed. Revealing Nazaroo's "soft docetism".  And Pennoyers pietistic annoyance.  Yet hopefully strengthening our hypostatism.

But why is this so important?
As suggested in the comments- if you believe in such a modified humanity of Jesus... you must also believe  in a modified resurrection.  And if there is only hope for such a modified humanity... how much hope is there for us unmodified humans?
Far better to hope in a Jesus that is familiar with pity, pain, and yes...passion.
So hard to identify with... an impassible Jesus.  May as well identify with an impassable Buddha.  Identify with a blood-less coup.  A blood-less covenant (Heb. 9:18).
Call me unregenerate, call me lost in my original sin... but my hope is in a Christ that continues be familiar with my struggles.  Continues to be familiar with my passions.
A Christ that plausibly got an erection when his feet were kissed by a woman.  And when a woman washed his feet with her hair.  A very human response. 
A response that an ancestor of the human Jesus likely had as well..  As his ancestor Boaz likely had- with a woman at his feet (see note on Ruth 3:8).

Indeed,  an impassable Boaz... would be a Ruth-less Boaz :-)
And an impassable me... would be Christ-less me :-(

For an impassable Christ- is a priestly eunuch.
And a priestly eunuch- is no priest at all (Deut. 23:1). 

And such a resurrection hope- is an impassible hope.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses,
but One who has been tempted in all things as we are- Yet, without sin (Heb. 4:15)

Thank God for a passionate Christ.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Papal Condom Nation Pt. 2

   Well... as we saw in the previous post- Rome appeals to an exclusive “procreative principle” for becoming 'one-flesh'. 
   However,  Protestants have appealed to an inclusive “pleasure principle” within this 'one-flesh' relationship.  And indeed, Calvin’s voluminous appeals on  Sex, Marriage and Family- revolutionized Geneva and the planet.  A revolution we would do well to re-consider.
  Calvin clearly recognized that Eve was created for Adam's pleasure- in a "Garden of Pleasure".   And in his commentary on Genesis 2:18- Calvin strongly denounces Rome's "procreative principle":

And hence is refitted the error of some, who think that the woman was formed only for the sake of propagation, and who restrict the word “good,” which had been lately mentioned, to the production of offspring... and that Adam was hitherto free from lust.

   Certainly a much more inclusive purpose from Calvin.
   And in Calvin's denouncement of aforementioned celibacy - Calvin also anticipates this current Popes appeal to a 'necessary evil':

The vulgar proverb, indeed, is, that she [woman] is a necessary evil; but the voice of God is rather to be heard, which declares that woman is given as a companion and an associate to the man, to assist him to live well.

   Does Calvin  appeal to Rome's "natural argument" here? Certainly not! 
Calvin repeatedly insists that the "natural" is "inverted", "degenerate" and "corrupt".  And Rome's "natural" argument is no exception.
   Rather Calvin here appeals to a static supernatural "voice" as his authority.  While this current Pope, in his commentary on Genesis- appeals to a 'naturally evolving and abrogating image' as his authority :

Thus we can see how the Bible itself constantly readapts its images to a continually developing way of thinking, how it changes time and again in order to bear witness, time and again, to the one thing that has come to it, in truth, from God's Word, which is the message of his creating act. In the Bible itself the images are free and they correct themselves ongoingly. In this way they show, by means of a gradual and interactive process, that they are only images, which reveal something deeper and greater.

   But let's survey some more Protestant commentaryDoes prominant-Protestant Matthew Henry invoke a "procreative principle"?  Certainly not!:

(2.) It is not for the increase and continuance of his kind. God could have made a [complete] world of men at first, to replenish the earth, as he replenished heaven with a [complete] world of angels

   But Henry also denounces celibacy- and appeals to the Protestant  'pleasure principle':
(1.) It is not [solitude] for his comfort; for man is a sociable creature. It is a pleasure to him to exchange knowledge and affection with those of his own kind, to inform and to be informed, to love and to be beloved.
   And does Henry appeal to a "natural argument"?  Certainly  not!
Henry's commentary some six verses later (on Gen 2:24) insists:

1. See here how great the virtue of a divine ordinance is; the bonds of it are stronger even than those of nature. 

   But what of the foremost Protestant Council?  What of Westminster?  

II. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help [pleasure] of husband and wife; for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed; and for preventing of uncleanness. 

   Do we see an exclusive "procreative principle" here?  Do we see marriage being ordained by Nature here?  Certainly not!  But rather marriage/sex being ordained by God himself.  For several reasons.

   But what other scripture do we have to support this 'pleasure principle'?   Well... how about Deuteronomy 24:5?  Is this not a concession for newlyweds to give 'pleasure' to one another?
  And how about Proverbs 5:19?  Does it speak of letting her  "womb" satisfy you at all times? 

   But primarily, how about Philippians 2:13?

for the one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort – for the sake of his good pleasure – is God.

   And why should it be otherwise?  Should it be merely for our good pleasure?
But Rome insists, 'Well, it is God's good pleasure that we procreate with our mates!'.

   Well...  sometimes, and sometimes not.

   Sometimes He does not bring forth either the 'desire nor the effort' for procreation.
Sometimes He merely brings forth the desire for recreation.  Procreation isn't always an option.

   And did not the Apostle Paul (as well as Calvin, Henry and Westminster) encourage the remarriage of Christian women for recreational purposes (1 Tim. 5)? Encourage remarriage of women well past "natural" child-conceiving age ("60")? 
Remarriage of women well past the range of Rome's "procreative principle"?   To pursue a much larger principle?  A loving principle?  A 'pleasure principle'?
   Or is our loving principal Himself bound by a "procreative principle"?  Is He always creating amongst the Trinity? Or is He sometimes 'merely' recreating?

   Indeed, for God's good pleasure.  Praise God!